By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Since its launch in 2007 the global networking organization, InterNations, has become a staple in the social calendar for many foreigners and locals in Rio. Offering a feature-rich web site and well organized parties, the Rio community continues to host interesting events, and their next one is on Sunday, May 1st from 3PM to 10PM.
The event is called the Irie Experience, and “Irie” is a Jamaican expression used to describe a feeling of happiness, harmony and contentment. InterNations aim is to introduce Rio’s expatriate community to authentic Jamaican cuisine and culture, courtesy of La Rica, a local food and community collective based in Gamboa.
One of the new team of ‘ambassadors’ of InterNations, Lola Balogun from Edmonton, Canada, explained how the event was conceived. “La Rica began from humble beginnings, selling Jamaican food (mainly patties) during small events in the Centro.”
She continues, “A mutual friend had introduced me to Tiyone, one of the co-founders of La Rica and the sole Jamaican member. Some [of us] had attended an event of theirs and tried their patties for the first time. Everyone loved them! We knew then that we needed to introduce La Rica’s food to our international crowd.”
InterNations always works with a team of volunteer ambassadors who organize events and generally keep the community engaged. The new team of ambassadors have been working together since January and includes; Lola Balogun from Edmonton, Canada, Daniane Ikenami from Rio de Janeiro (RJ), Aliki Kostopoulou from Nafpilo, Greece, Brand Christ from Petrópolis (RJ) and Kristen Tigre from Winfield, (U.S.).
The Irie Experience event will have DJ Don Jay (Miami/Brazil) to open the party with some reggae and dancehall tunes to warm the crowd up. La Rica will sell their appetizers and main meals for the crowd, which will include homemade Jamaican-style patties (including either meat, vegetarian or goiaba and cheese), sweet potato chips and sweet potato pudding for desert.
The organizers explain the main dishes will include authentic jerk chicken or fried chicken (with dipping sauces), both served with rice and peas and vegetables. Halfway through the evening, the band will take the stage and begin playing various forms of Jamaican music, from ska, to dub, to traditional reggae and dancehall.
Lola Balogun explained, “Our venue, Les Jardins is nestled in the heart of the rain forest in Cosme Velho, beneath Christ the Redeemer and far enough from the roars of Rio streets. Its tranquil nature will provide the perfect backdrop for the event; serene and irie.”
She adds, “We really hope our members will enjoy the exposure to culture, food and music. But on a larger scale, we hope the event will begin to open Rio up to a new influx of outside culture and food, in time for the Olympic Games.”
What: The Irie Experience event by InterNations
Where: Les Jardins, Rua Cosme Velho, 1342, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 22241-091
When: Sunday, May 1st from 3PM – 10PM
Entrance: Albatross Member = R$10, Basic Member = R$40, Non-member = R$50